Historic victories for Donald Glover and Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the Emmys

“Atlanta” creator Donald Glover won Emmys for acting and directing.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP)

This year’s Emmys were memorable for a number of reasons, and not just for Anna Chlumsky’s shocked reaction when Sean Spicer rolled that lectern onstage.

Donald Glover, the multi-hyphenate behind FX’s groundbreaking comedy “Atlanta,” became the first black director to win an Emmy for comedy direction. Glover won for “B.A.N.,” an experimental stand-alone episode set in “Atlanta’s” alternate-universe Black Entertainment Television. It was one of the first-year series’ best episodes, blistering in its honest and funny look at race, outrage culture and black masculinity.

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Glover also won the Emmy for lead actor in a comedy, becoming just the second black man to take that award. Robert Guillaume won forBenson” in 1985.

Lena Waithe, the first black woman ever nominated for comedy writing, took that Emmy for the “Master of None” episode “Thanksgiving,” which she co-wrote with series creator Aziz Ansari. The episode’s story, inspired by Waithe’s own life, followed her character, Denise, discovering her sexuality over the course of her life and finally revealing it to her mother.

“I had survived that thing that I was so afraid of,” Waithe told The Times of her coming-out experience.

Reed Morano became just the second woman to win the drama series directing Emmy. Mimi Leder won for “ER” in 1995. Morano earned the award for directing the pilot episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Not all of the night’s Emmy standouts were first-timers.

Perennial Emmy record-breaker Julia Louis-Dreyfus won a sixth consecutive prize for her portrayal of beleaguered career politician Selina Meyer on HBO’s “Veep.” The win gave Louis-Dreyfus the most Emmys for playing the same character — six — surpassing Candice Bergen (“Murphy Brown”) and Don Knotts (“The Andy Griffith Show”). (It should be noted that after her fifth win in 1995, Bergen took herself out of the running. Helen Hunt then began a four-year streak in 1996 for “Mad About You.”)

Louis-Dreyfus’ Emmy, her eighth overall, tied her with Cloris Leachman for most acting victories.


“This is and continues to be the role of a lifetime and an adventure of utter, utter joy,” Louis-Dreyfus said in her acceptance speech.

The producers of “Veep” have announced that its next season will be its last, affording Louis-Dreyfus one more opportunity to win for the character and the show.

“It’s nuts,” Louis-Dreyfus said, summing up her remarkable run.


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